Concentrated: A new era for cannabis extracts in California

Chris Conrad, a cannabis legal expert and author of “The Newbies Guide to Cannabis & The Industry,” said the type of extraction can also produce what is commonly known as an “entourage effect” or “ensemble effect.”

“There is a combination of 100 plus molecules in marijuana that have this medical effect depending on how they interact with each other and the human body,” he said. “That’s what a lot of people think is so great about cannabis.”

However, Conrad noted that extracts can also filter out different molecules, thereby lessening this entourage effect.


The different types of marijuana extraction can also have legal implications.

Under California law, it’s legal for medical marijuana patients to purchase butane hash oil, but the process of making the oil is illegal, according to Conrad.

“If you gather a bunch of lavender and make a butane extraction and make lavender essential oils, that would be legal,” Conrad said. “If you use it to make medical marijuana oil, it’s illegal.”

But the 2008 California Supreme Court case People v. Bergen clarified that other methods of cannabis manufacturing that don’t use volatile chemicals like butane are allowable under the law, Conrad said.

“They said that using water and silk screens is mechanical extraction and making edibles with butter is legal,” Conrad said. “The reasoning for that is the statute was to stop people from blowing up their houses.”

After the passage of the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act by the California Legislature last year, everything has changed.

The new law allows people to open marijuana manufacturing facilities, including for butane hash oil, if they can adhere to strict permitting requirements.

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